Funeral services have been announced for Bishop Emeritus Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, who died June 18 after a prolonged illness, and Bishop Emeritus R. Pierre DuMaine of San Jose, who died June 13 after being in declining health.
Bishop Blaire died from a series of illnesses at his retirement residence at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Modesto. He was 77 and had been under hospice care since June 11.
There will be three days of services. On Monday, July 1, reception of the body will take place at 2 p.m. and visitation will be allowed until 8 p.m. at Our Lady of Fatima Church, located at 505 W. Granger Ave. in Modesto. The following day, July 2, reception of the body will be at 2 p.m. with visitation until 6:30 p.m. and vigil at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Annunciation, located at 425 W. Magnolia St. in Stockton. On Wednesday, July 3, the funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. in the cathedral.
"I will miss my brother, Bishop Stephen Blaire," said Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento. "Always surrounded by challenges both pastoral and personal, he was undauntedly hopeful. He engaged with enthusiastic collegiality the work of the bishops in California as well as on a national level. He challenged me and others to root our decisions in prayer and evangelical discernment. He was deeply intentional about being a disciple of Jesus. His joyful and generous discipleship is what he leaves us as his legacy."
The much-beloved bishop, in a June 19 story on Catholic News Service, was recalled by many both in California and across the country as a churchman who lived by a simple code: "We are here to serve, and do it with a touch of class."
When he was installed as Stockton's fifth bishop on Jan. 19, 1999, he told the standing-room-only congregation, "Jesus said, 'Remain my love." These words, which were spoken by Jesus to his disciples, are spoken to each and every one of us." He said Jesus' words express "the most central and profound truth of our faith. That we are loved by God, and we are called to love one another as God has loved us."
A native of Los Angeles and ordained a priest in 1967, before being named to the six-county Stockton Diocese, he had been an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles for nine years. On the national level, Bishop Blaire served as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pastoral Practices and has been a member of the Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. In 2009, he was elected to a term as chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice, Peace and Human Development.
Bishop Blaire was also a former president of the California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state's Catholic bishops. Bishop Blaire served for 19 years until he retired on Jan. 23, 2018. He served as Bishop Emeritus under his successor, Bishop Myron J. Cotta, who at the time of his appointment to Stockton was auxiliary bishop of Sacramento.
Bishop Blaire experienced physical hardships in his final years. In 2017, he suffered a broken leg and developed complications. He eventually underwent an amputation and learned all the things he could do walking on a prosthetic lower leg by watching videos.
Bishop Blaire is survived by his sister, Mary Anne, of Port St. Lucy, Florida, and his brother, Nicholas, of Saugus. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Priest Retirement Fund through the Diocese of Stockton, 212 N. San Joaquin St., Stockton, CA 95202-2409.
To read the official obituary for Bishop Blaire from the Diocese of Stockton visit https://stocktondiocese.org/bishop-emeritus-stephen-e-blaire-obituary
Bishop DuMaine became the founding bishop of the Diocese of San Jose on March 18, 1981, and served until his retirement on Nov. 27, 1999. He was succeeded by Bishop Patrick McGrath. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of San Francisco on June 15, 1957 and earned a doctorate in education from the Catholic University of America. He was archdiocesan assistant superintendent of schools and superintendent from 1965 to 1978. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop of San Francisco on June 29, 1978.
The funeral Mass for Bishop DuMaine will be celebrated on Thursday, June 27 at 10 a.m. in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, located at 80 S. Market St. in San Jose.
The official obituary for Bishop DuMaine noted that he will long be remembered for his dedication to the teachings and principles put forth by the Second Vatican Council. Among these were the call to holiness that is extended to all the baptized, the inclusion of lay and religious women and men in decision-making positions within the church, and a commitment to Catholic education and formation in all of its forms. The obituary added that he was a visionary who recognized the significant role of technology in social communications and the church's mission of evangelization, and that he served as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Communications and as a member of the Pontifical Commission on Social Communications.
After retirement, he served as visiting professor at both Santa Clara University and Stanford University.
Donations in Bishop DuMaine's memory may be made to the Priests' Retirement Fund or the Catholic School Scholarship Fund, both in care of The Diocese of San Jose, 1150 N. First St., San Jose, CA 95112-4966.
In top photo, Bishop Emeritus Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton.